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Paweł Michalak
Institute of History, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland

The attitude of Balkan nations toward Russia during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878, according to the newspapers “Dziennik Poznański” and “Kurier Poznański”

The main goal of the paper is to show the attitude of the Balkan nations toward Russia during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 on the basis of articles, published by the two most significant Polish-language newspapers from the Province of Posen in Germany. Basing on press publication from “Dziennik Poznański” and “Kurier Poznański”, the author reproduces the course of the war and main directions of the policy conducted by the representatives of the particular national movements on the Balkans. The key issues are to show the diversity in opinions regarding particular political problems and to stress that the Balkan states and nations were not only passive observers. They tried to effectively influence the course of the war events, even though their real political significance at this time was really small.

Generally, Polish people positively referred to the national liberation struggles of the Balkan nations. Being under the influence of the Slavophilism, many of them fought in the ranks of the insurgents. Many others hoped, that the Balkan crisis of 1875 – 1878 will bring a new war between the Great Powers, especially Austria-Hungary (supported by Germany and Great Britain) and Russia, which will finally lead to the rebirht of the Polish independence. That’s one of the main reasons, why the Polish-language press from the Province of Posen expressed the great interest in the war 1877-1878. There was published a lot of information on the course of the conflict, but we must remember, that in many cases the selection of information and the manner how particular political issues were showed, reflected the official policy of the German authorities.

On the one hand, the chancellor Otto Bismarck gave Russia diplomatic support, but on the other, he was afraid of Russia’s strenghening in the Balkans and he was reluctant to any significant political changes in the South – East Europe. His policy was exposed during the deliberations of the Congress of Berlin (13th June – 13th July 1878), when he supported, unfavourable for Russia, resolution of changing decisions of San Stefano’s Treaty (3rd March 1878).